Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/10/07/microsoft_staff_half_disapprove_ballmer/

Many Microsoft workers big on company not Ballmer

50% of staff surveyed unimpressed with boss

By Kelly Fiveash

Posted in Software, 7th October 2010 11:30 GMT

Only half of Microsoft workers reckon their boss Steve Ballmer is doing a good job as chief of the company.

That finding was courtesy of an ongoing survey carried out by Glassdoor.com.

Over 1,000 employees responded to the question: “Do you approve of the way this person [Ballmer] is handling the job of leading this company [Microsoft]?"

And 50 per cent of those responding clearly aren’t happy with their shouty boss.

But Redmond’s Windows blogger Brandon Le Blanc has dismissed the survey – which was picked up by CNN Money yesterday – arguing that it was hardly representative of the vendor’s 89,000 staff.

“Those surveyed for that report equates to about 0.625 per cent of Microosft [sic] employees... again, hardly representative at all. Seems very flawed,” he defensively tweeted this morning.

A separate question in the same survey also showed that more than 1,500 Microsoft employees were “satisfied” to be working at the firm, with a 3.5 out of five score.

But what the findings show is that no less than 500 MS workers are unhappy about Ballmer’s reign. That’s a lot of disgruntled people for a company that prides itself on being a great employer.

While that may be true, Ballmer appears to be a figure that creates divisive opinions among his staff.

It’s been another tough week for Microsoft’s CEO. Last Friday the software maker’s board of directors capped Ballmer’s bonus, citing failures in the mobile and tablet game.

The MS boss made a fuzzy remark about Windows 7 tablets shipping before Christmas when speaking at the LSE event we covered earlier this week. It’s probably the third time this year he’s publicly made such a statement.

But he’s not hit “the sweet spot” in that market yet. Add to that Goldman Sachs’ decision to downgrade Microsoft’s stock from ‘buy’ to ‘neutral’, and it’s no wonder that a considerable number of the company’s staff aren’t happy with Steve’s performance.

“Sorry I don't see it as valid. Not representative of whole company. Results too small,” said LeBlanc.

But that number is exactly the kind of sample Microsoft cites in its numerous surveys, such as this?

Furthermore, if you compare Ballmer's 50 per cent success rating with Oracle’s Larry Ellison, who gets a 78 per cent approval rating from more than 600 staff; and Google’s Eric Schmidt, who grabs an impressive 96 per cent from nearly 400 of his minions, then it’s fair to say that the cracks have begun to appear for Ballmer.

If a tech company’s CEO is performing well, he or she is typically rewarded in loyalty by their staff, who refuse to be critical in public. So if 500 of them are willing to press the ‘disapprove’ button, then it strongly suggests all is not well at Redmond towers about now. ®